Beware of idealism

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When we are children we are idealistic in planning to be astronauts, cowboys, movie stars.  When we are teenagers we are idealistic in dreaming of the perfect romance, best school, best job, non-stop success, and saving the world.  These dreams should be tempered with realism from our elders, but often are not.

In college, students are told they can create a ‘new man’, elimi­nate poverty, level the classes, educate everyone, eliminate prejudice, and stop war.  Many of the liberal students believe this, and go into jour­nalism, teach­ing, or social work.

Religious scandals of ’87

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When clergymen get into trouble, it reminds one of the uproar among television preachers (Bakker, Swaggert) in ’87 (Pear­ly-gate).  That exposed the human stumblings – alcoholism, sexual misconduct, hush money, cover-ups, deceitful fundraising and accounting, lavish lifestyles, addiction to prescription drugs, nervous breakdowns, mudslinging (among ‘dear brothers’ who ‘love’ each other) and hiding behind biblical language.

Mainstream society is turned off by this and the forced happi­ness, sanctimony, and emotionalism, which get some of the audience so worked up, they cry, jump, and dance about.

Americorps – idealistic

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The siren’s call arises from time to time for ‘national service’.   The original program was called VISTA in the mid-60s, now part of Americorps.  I was one of the first volunteers.  Here’s what it was like for me:
VISTA urged me to join, saying my background would be good for working with migrant farm laborers. (It wasn’t, but they were looking for people.) Volunteers were flown across the country for ‘intensive’ training. Some were immature, snide, and anti-establishment. They played their stereos loud when nuns in the dorm where we stayed were trying to rest. One named a dog ‘migrant.’ Others earned us a bad reputation downtown. (If they didn’t fit in their own culture, why send them to another?)

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